Agency Work Regulations (AWR) - Frequently Asked Questions



When do the AWR come into force?

1st October 2011 

Who is an agency worker?

All  contractors working through an agency paid using the PAYE model or an Umbrella company.  A small number of contractors working through a limited company will also be agency workers.

Who is notan agency worker?

A limited company contractor who is “in business on their own account”. In order to verify this, we will ask limited company contractors to complete a simple questionnaire. Once we have reviewed your answers we will email you with a verification of your status.

What are “day one” rights?

As the name suggests, these are rights which the agency worker gains on day 1 of an assignment.  These are all client controlled and include access to client onsite facilities, such as a crèche, gym, onsite car park or canteen and access to client transport facilities, such as a client organised bus link from a local station.  There is also a separate right for agency workers to be notified of any permanent vacancies within the client’s organisation (which can be as simple as giving them access to the intranet if this is where the client lists their permanent vacancies).

What are “postqualification” rights?

After 12 weeks of providing services in the same role for the same client, the agency worker will gain the same basic employment and working conditions as a permanent employee of the client doing the same job.  The first day these rights will come into effect will be 24 December 2011.

What rights qualify as “post-qualification” rights?

  • Pay
  • Working time
  • Rest periods
  • Night work
  • Rest breaks
  • Annual leave (which includes payment for annual leave)

What is included within “Pay”?

  • Fee (hourly or daily rate)
  • Shift allowance or overtime (if any)
  • Bonuses related to quality or quantity of work done by the agency worker
  • Commission (if any)
  • Holiday pay

What is not included within “Pay”?

  • Any bonus relating to longer term client goals, departmental goals or loyalty
  • Any annual company wide bonuses
  • Share schemes
  • Contractual sick pay, maternity pay, paternity pay and adoption pay (where the client offers more than statutory minimum)
  • Pensions
  • Financial Participation schemes
  • Expenses

How is the 12 weeks calculated?

It is 12 calendar weeks from the first week worked.  Any one hour worked in a week will count as a whole week.

Can you opt out of AWR as a worker, the way you can out of the Conduct Regulations?

No.  AWR expressly prohibits opting out and any attempt to do so may result in being fined up to £5,000 for each attempt.

If a contractor works under a statement of work, will that exclude them from AWR?

Yes. Provided that it is a true statement of work.  By this we mean the contract must be for a specific service (not for Joe Bloggsworking as a Java Developer), payment will need to be by deliverables, and the client must not have the ability to direct the work.  Practically speaking, this type of contract is not suitable for Volt’s clients in most cases.

Will agency workers be entitled to time off for ante-natal appointments?

Yes, after the 12 week qualification period and this time off will be paid.

Who do we compare the agency worker with to work out what post qualification rights they are entitled to?

  • If there is a permanent employee at the client who does the same job, this real person will be the comparator.
  • If there is no permanent comparator then the client must offer the same rights that they would offer that person (the agency worker) if they were to employ them permanently.

How will we get this information from the client?

We will provide them with a questionnaire which they will need to complete. If having received the answers to this questionnaire, it transpires that the agency worker will be entitled to increased rates, rights or holiday at the end of the 12 week qualification period, we will update our contracts with the agency worker to show this.

What is Swedish Derogation?

It is a method of contracting without the requirement for post-qualification right to equal pay.  It is also known as the “pay between assignments model”. The agency worker needs to be an employee of the company and must be paid between assignments (i.e. on the bench time) for 4 weeks at 50% of their standard rate, or minimum wage if higher.

Will Volt offer Swedish Derogation?

No, but many if not all of the umbrellas on our PSL will.